|vintage illustration 1846. thanks vintageephemera.blogspot.com|
Of all animals, when young, there is none more prettily playful than the kitten; but it seems to lose this disposition as it grows old, and the innate treachery of its kind is then seen to prevail. From being naturally ravenous, education teaches it to disguise its appetites, and to watch the favourable moment of plunder: supple, insinuating, and artful, it has learnt the arts of concealing its intentions till it can put them into execution: when the opportunity offers, it at once seizes upon whatever it finds, flies off with it, and continues at a distance till it supposes its offence forgotten.
The cat has only the appearance of attachment; and it may easily be perceived, by its timid approaches, and side-long looks, that it either dreads its master, or distrusts his kindness: different from the dog, whose caresses are sincere, the cat is assiduous rather for its own pleasure, than to please, and often gains confidence only to abuse it.
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Some of this is translated from Buffon, a footnote tells me, but this assassination on the feline character is from Oliver Goldsmith, A History of the Earth, and Animated Nature, Volume 1 (London: W. C. Wright, 1824) p. 419.